Pfizer said today that the Austrian Patent Office has ruled that a claim in the company’s basic patent covering the use of atorvastatin, the active ingredient in Lipitor, would be infringed by generic manufacturer Ranbaxy. Ranbaxy can appeal the ruling, but the patent will remain in effect during the appeals process. Lipitor is sold in Austria under the brand name Sortis.
The decision will allow Pfizer to take further legal action to prevent Ranbaxy from launching a competitor product before the expiration of Lipitor’s basic patent on November 7, 2011.
“The decision by the Austrian Patent Office is yet another affirmation of the strength of the intellectual property behind this important medical breakthrough,” said Pfizer general counsel Allen Waxman. “The ruling reinforces the fundamental principle that patent laws exist to support and encourage medical innovators, not undermine them.”
Pfizer said it will continue to vigorously contest challenges to its Lipitor patents around the world.